Guest Blogger

Experience the Magic of Ukuleles at #PLA2024

Music is a valuable part of storytime. Singing is one of the Five Principles of Every Child Ready to Read. On the How-To Stage at #PLA2024, Christiana Congelio showed librarians how to play the ukulele to take their storytime songs to the next level.

This presentation was so much fun! Christiana even brought along some ukuleles for people to try. Participants learned two cords for the ukulele: C and G7. Together, these cords can play common storytime songs like “Row Row Row Your Boat”, “The Wheels on the Bus”, and “Frere Jacques”. How easy is that?

Along with teaching some quick songs, Christiana also showed where librarians can look for more information about how to play the ukulele. After all, if there is one thing librarians love, it is sharing resources with others! Cynthia Lin runs a YouTube channel that goes over how to play the ukulele for beginners. You can also watch play-along videos, holiday songs, and music from Cynthia’s trio U3. If you want to visually see what to do when playing the ukulele, this channel is a great place to start! Storytime Ukulele is a blog that posts the cords and lyrics for storytime songs. Some of the songs are primary tunes, such as, “Down by the Bay”. Others have different lyrics but are based on common songs. Each song contains the lyrics and cords, so you can play and sing during your storytime. You can look up songs alphabetically or by subject.

I had a great time at this presentation! I’m not a naturally gifted musician, but it was fun to have a hands-on way to try a new skill. All of the participants were laughing and cheering as we tried to play along with Christiana. The songs were pretty easy to play, even for novices like me! As Christiana pointed out, what make the ukulele great to use in storytime is that it is something anyone can play. Even if you have never touched an instrument, you can quickly pick up these simple songs and cords and play for your storytime. It will make your storytime class so excited to see you rock out on the ukulele. Do you play instruments in your storytime?


Ann Baillie (she/her/hers) is the Youth Services Assistant Manager at the Alsip-Merrionette Park Public Library in Alsip, Illinois. She is the past-manager of the Illinois Library Association’s Youth Services Forum. Her main interests are the connection between Readers’ Advisory and technology, and how libraries can use technology to better reach patrons. She is especially excited to check out the How-To Stage at this year’s conference. She plans to drink as much coffee as possible during this year’s conference.


This post addresses ALSC Core Competencies: III Programming Skills

Please note that as a guest post, the views expressed here do not represent the official position of ALA or ALSC.

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